Red Rock Indian Band
Background and Territory: The Red Rock Indian Band, also known as the Lake Helen Reserve, is an Ojibwe First Nation situated in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The community’s territory encompasses the Red Rock 53 (formerly Parmachene 53) and Lake Helen 53A Indian reserves. The band operates independently and is a proud member of the Union of Ontario Indians. The Lake Helen Reserve is approximately 100 km northeast of the city of Thunder Bay and 2 km east of Nipigon. This site is also the location of the historical Saint Sylvester’s Church that was built in 1877. The first recorded burial was October 3rd 1880. Although the church is a historical landmark, it is no longer used as the building structure doesn’t allow use.
Population and Membership: With a registered population of 2027, the RRIB actively preserves Ojibwe culture, heritage, and traditions. The band plays a crucial role in maintaining the rich tapestry of Ojibwe life. Many of its members reside off-reserve, contributing to the broader Canadian society while maintaining strong ties to their ancestral land.
Economic Development and Infrastructure: The RRIB has made significant strides in economic development. Notably, they celebrated the opening of the Professional Business Complex in July 2015. This impressive 12,000 sq. ft. two-story building houses 33 office spaces, providing a hub for business activities within the community. The complex includes amenities such as a reception area, an elevator, a kitchen, and multiple washrooms, some of which are wheelchair accessible. Additionally, the RRIB is part of Supercom Industries LP, a 100% First Nation-owned business. Supercom represents a partnership between several First Nations along the northern shore of Lake Superior, aiming to develop the East-West Tie, a high-priority transmission line linking Thunder Bay to Wawa.
Community Initiatives and Cultural Preservation: The RRIB actively engages in community events, language learning, and cultural preservation. They celebrate traditional ceremonies, share oral histories, and pass down knowledge from elders to younger generations. The band’s commitment to cultural continuity ensures that Ojibwe customs thrive in the modern world.
Exploring Lake Helen Reserve: Visitors to the Lake Helen Reserve can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region. Here are some things to do:
- Hiking and Nature Walks: Explore the serene landscapes, lush forests, and pristine lakes. The reserve offers picturesque trails for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
- Fishing: Lake Helen is known for its excellent fishing opportunities. Cast your line and try your luck catching walleye, pike, and other freshwater species.
- Cultural Experiences: Engage with local community members to learn about Ojibwe traditions, storytelling, and art. Attend cultural events and workshops.
- Photography: Capture the breathtaking vistas, sunsets, and wildlife. Lake Helen Reserve provides a stunning backdrop for photographers.
- Quiet Reflection: Take a moment to appreciate the tranquility of the reserve. Sit by the lakeshore, listen to the rustling leaves, and connect with nature. This site is also the location of the historical Saint Sylvesters Church that was built in 1877. The first recorded burial was October 3rd 1880. Although the church is a historical landmark, it is no longer used as the building structure doesn’t allow use.
The Red Rock Indian Band’s commitment to its people, sustainable development, and cultural heritage continues to shape the vibrant tapestry of Northwestern Ontario.